Graduate Programs - French

Program Brochure

The French Division offers MA and PhD degree programs spanning many aspects of French and Francophone studies including literature, culture, and contemporary society. The faculty is committed to providing graduate students with a firm foundation in scholarship, an awareness of new and current trends in the field and a thorough preparation in classroom teaching.

Our degree programs also offer many opportunities to explore other intellectual disciplines. Part of the Department of Modern Languages, the French Division works closely with its fellow divisions, Chinese, German, Italian, Japanese, Russian, and Spanish-Portuguese. In addition, the French Division cooperates actively with other departments and interdisciplinary programs across the university, including Humanities, Women's Studies, Asian Studies, Afro-Caribbean Studies, to name but a few.

Graduate school is also a unique opportunity to enjoy the intellectual and cultural life available on campus. FSU's Winthrop-King Institute for Contemporary French and Francophone Studies hosts distinguished Visiting Professors and organizes high-profile events (international conferences, public lectures, etc.) featuring eminent speakers from France and the wider French-speaking world, making our program one of the most exciting in the U.S. In addition, students at FSU have the privilege of attending special events at some of the nation's best Music, Theater and Motion Picture Schools. The Napoleonic and Holocaust Institutes (run by the History Department), the English Department's Creative Writing Program and the Center for Advancement of Human Rights are among the many organizations sponsoring public lectures and other events that enliven intellectual life on campus.


REQUIREMENTS (for general University requirements and for information on how to submit an online application, see /Graduate-Studies): BA in French or equivalent for admission to the MA program; MA in French or equivalent for admission to the PhD program; complete and acceptable ("good standing") academic transcripts; GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4-point scale; GRE scores; departmental approval, consisting of the collective appraisal of the program faculty. The application is then submitted to the Associate Chair for Graduate Studies for appropriate action. Before beginning graduate work in French, a student normally has an undergraduate major in French or the equivalent with a minimum grade-point average of 3.0. In special circumstances, a student who has not had such preparation may, with special approval from the Associate Chair for Graduate Studies, remedy any deficiencies concurrently with work on the advanced degree. Consultation with the Associate Chair for Graduate Studies will determine the appropriate procedure.


Graduate students in French are eligible for a range of scholarships and other awards, many of them supported by the Ada Belle Winthrop-King Memorial Fund. These include fellowships, teaching assistantships, scholarships for residency in France and other Francophone regions, and travel and research funds. Click here for more details including application deadlines.


MA in French Literature

Requirements for the MA in French Literature include course work, comprehensive examinations, and a 20-30 page research paper. A minimum of 32 semester hours in graduate courses (including Minor, if any) must be earned and at least 21 of these must

be taken for a letter grade. The MA degree program normally takes two years but may be completed in as little as one year.

Required courses include Old French and one course in each century. Francophone literature can be substituted for any century course. In choosing their courses, students should be advised that many currently advertised positions require knowledge of critical theory and Francophone literature. Courses are not offered as exam preparation; rather, course work provides the basis for the student to further synthesize and expand their knowledge during exam preparation. For availability of courses and for information, please check the "Courses" link.

MA in French with a Concentration in Contemporary French and Francophone Studies

Requirements for the MA French with a Concentration in French and Francophone Studies include course work, comprehensive examinations, and a 20-30 page research paper. A minimum of 32 semester hours in graduate courses (including Minor, if any) must be earned and at least 21 of these must be taken for a letter grade. The program normally takes two years but may be completed in as little as one year.

Required courses include 21 credit hours (7 courses) in French. At least 12 credit hours (4 courses) must be chosen from among those offered in 20th Century or Francophone Studies, with a further 9 credit hours (3 courses) chosen from among other courses in French. For availability of courses and for information, please check the "Courses" link.

MA Comprehensive Examination

In both the French Literature and the French with a Concentration in Contemporary French and Francophone Studies track, the Master's Comprehensive Examination is based on courses taken by the candidate and on a reading list. The Comprehensive Examination generally consists of four exams taken on consecutive days, consisting of a group of identifications as well as essay questions. The detailed format for the MA Comprehensive Examination for both tracks is outlined in the Graduate Studies Handbook. If any part of the written examination is considered marginal by any member of the committee, an oral exam may be required.

MA Research Paper

In both the French Literature and the French with a Concentration in Contemporary French and Francophone Studies track, the student writes a 20-30 page research paper, which can be an expanded version of a paper done in a course at FSU. Besides being an exercise in research techniques, the paper is seen as the best expression of the student's written work in French. The MA research paper is written under the supervision of a directing professor and a committee consisting of two more members. The committee may request a defense if so needed.


The Doctor of Philosophy in French is a research degree designed to foster mastery of the language together with advanced knowledge and analytical and critical skills in selected areas of French and Francophone studies. The student is expected to become familiar with past and current achievements in the field and demonstrate the ability for original scholarly research.

Course Requirements

A minimum of 3 academic years of graduate study (at least 60 semester hours) beyond the BA degree (or equivalent) is normally required in the doctoral program. Credits acquired at the MA level count towards this. On progressing beyond the Masters level, candidates for a PhD in French will be expected to take 10 three-credit courses and thereby fulfill requirements in three categories, consisting of 4, 4, and 2 courses respectively as follows: a Major/Minor category that will consist of four courses, a Distribution category (see below) that will also consist of four courses, and two courses in an unrelated field that will serve as an Elective category. Although students will be required to adhere to the 4-4-2 pattern in fulfilling the requirements, there is considerable flexibility in the exact choice of courses. Some courses may help to fulfill requirements in more than one category (e.g. both the "Major/Minor" and "Distribution" categories), thus enabling students to take additional courses in areas of particular interest to them while remaining within the 10-course total overall. Course selection will be made by the student in consultation with the Graduate Adviser. For availability of courses and for information, please check the "Courses" link.

Major/Minor Requirements: in fulfilling these requirements, students will typically take two to three courses in the Major and one to two courses in the Minor.

Distribution Requirements: students will be required to take four courses across the fields represented by the French faculty. Specifically, students will be required to take two pre-1800 courses, and two post-1800 courses, to be determined in consultation with the Graduate Adviser. Courses taken to satisfy the Distribution Requirement can also be counted toward the Major or Minor.

Unrelated Field (Electives): based on the overlapping 4-4-2 distribution system, two of the student's courses will be in unrelated fields, hence electives. This could involve work in such areas as theory, autobiography, gender studies, colonialism/post-colonialism, etc., and not necessarily standard century-based fields. In choosing electives students should keep in mind the need for intellectual coherence.

No more than two courses can be taken outside of the department, and all courses in the first semester must be taken within the department.

We encourage students to develop a secondary area of specialization, which can be easily done while satisfying the requirements stated above. The Graduate Adviser will work with every entering graduate student in order to work out a program consonant with each one's interests, background and needs.

Language Requirement

The language requirement for the doctoral degree consists of reading knowledge in one language other than French and English which is germane to the research in the student's proposed specialty area. The language requirement must be satisfied before taking the Preliminary Examination. In addition, a minimum of 3 months residency in a French-speaking country is strongly recommended prior to completion of the degree.

Doctoral Preliminary Examination

In at least the final semester of the minimum course work and residence, the student takes the written Doctoral Preliminary Exam, as prepared by the Doctoral Supervisory Committee (consisting of at least four faculty members, including a University Representative from outside the Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics). The Doctoral Preliminary Examination will have proportionate coverage of both Major and Minor fields and is designed to ascertain the candidate's scholarly competence, the breadth and depth of linguistic and cultural literacy and bibliographical knowledge, and the feasibility of possible dissertation projects. The formal status of "candidate for the doctoral degree" ("ABD") is granted after the student has successfully passed the Doctoral Preliminary Exam.

Prospectus of Dissertation

After completion of the Preliminary Examination, the student will submit and orally defend a Prospectus of Dissertation, which has to be approved by the Doctoral Supervisory Committee.


The doctoral Dissertation must be on a topic connected with the major field and must constitute a significant research contribution to knowledge. When the research and collection of data have reached the stage of exposition, it is recommended that the candidate submit carefully edited preliminary drafts, chapter by chapter, to the Supervisory Committee for suggestions, corrections, and approval.

PLEASE NOTE: in case the dissertation research concerns human subjects, the student must include a copy of the IRB (Institutional Review Board) Approval Letter and sample copies of any Informed Consent Forms in the appendices of his/her manuscript. Issues of human subjects should be thoroughly discussed with your dissertation advisor since a failure to acquire the required clearance may negatively influence the chances of your work being published in the future. For more information see "GradSpace" (or "Grad School - Faculty/Staff") on your Bb site. Students should bring issues pertaining to human subjects committee applications and extensions to the Florida State University Human Subjects Office, housed within the Office of Research, for more information, click here.

Oral Defense of Dissertation

As theĀ final exercise, the student is expected to defend the dissertation in the presence of the entire supervisory committee. The oral defense aims to assess that the student is able to successfully communicate, both through the oral examination and in the written dissertation, the knowledge, and skills he/she has acquired within his/her discipline of study. The Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics is committed to strictly enforce the University's regulations on the oral dissertation defense, as well as on the subsequent manuscript submission process. For details, please consult the Graduate Studies Handbook.